There are so many evergreen flowering shrubs to brighten up the garden - or container - that we have decided to aim out list at those evergreen shrubs that flower for long periods. On that basis, many of the flowering evergreen - such as Rhododendrons and Azaleas have been confined to the 'also ran' section.
This is not to say that they are not good evergreen shrubs or not worthy of inclusion in the best ten on this page. It is simply that the range of evergreen shrubs that also flower, is so large that it would take several web pages to include just a small proportion!
So, no irate emails please about our not including your favourite flowering evergreens. We (I) have also had to omit some of my favourite shrubs from this list, because they only flower for a short period! For that reason, some gorgeous flowering evergreens are mentioned elsewhere!
It is no accident or laziness that this list includes some of the most popular flowering evergreens, for the reason that plants become popular is simply because they are liked! All shrubs in this top 10 list will have flowers that last for at at least a month, and often for several months.
Not the least to consider when choosing your shrub, is the fact that within this group there are a wide range of seasons covered.
Each gardening season will have its own showpieces, be it spring, summer autumn or even winter. Choose carefully to extend your garden's length of interest.
Many of the Hebes flower for long periods in the summer months - none more-so than Hebe Midsummer Beauty. With a little bit of extra work - simply de-heading the fade flowers, the flowering season can be at least a month, with a second flush of flowers later in the early Autumn.
The larger flowering types are more suited for long flowering than the small flowering Hebes such as Hebe subalpina - (rakiensis.)
Abelias are included both for their long flowering period and also because of their foliage attraction.
The image is of Abelia schumanii which not only has the long flowering season, but also the red flower bracts and young foliage.
The better known Abelia Francis Mason is also one of the top 10 for reason of its golden marked foliage and long flowering period.
Viburnum tinus has a few different cultivars - such as V.t. Eve Price and V.t. French White.
All of them start to show flower bud in late December and then gradually break into flower during early spring with a long season of flower colour from November through until April depending upon seasonal fluctuations.
They are often listed as winter flowering, but are better described as early spring - although with attractive flower bud colour in winter.
Whichever, they are a cert for a long period of flower colour and as evergreen as is possible.
All of the Mahonia group have long flowering period - most taking time to open fully.
The Mahonia aquifolium types are best for low growing ground cover, whilst the larger growing Mahonia x media types - such as Mahonia Lionel Fortescue - are at the larger end of the scale.
Mahonia x media Charity is deservedly popular, but there are others in this group such as the image shot of Mahonia x media Underway, which will give at least two months of flower bud and flower colour in the darkest days of winter - regardless of weather.
They also have to added attraction of the pinnate leaves, which will add interest throughout the full year.
Not only evergreen and flowering, but one of the later flowering evergreens with blue flowers, that flowers from late summer through autumn.
Powder blue flowers are bright enough to catch the eye from distance, and this shrub has the added attraction of being compact and low growing.
As soon as late spring arrives, my mailbox will have enquiries about "A blue flowering shrub against a wall"
Invariable it will be one of the Ceanothus with their spectacular display of power blue flowers against dark green evergreen foliage.
Some - as with the image - are low growing, or at least mound forming, whilst others are large shrubs.
They all have around a month of flower, and whilst not the longest flowering evergreens, make it into this list simply because of their sheer flower power.
A sheltered position is best, in order to prevent damage in severe winters, and full sun is always rewarded with the best flowers.
Itea ilicifolia always attracts attention, with its lime green flower tassels.
Best grown against a wall though it can also be free standing.
The tassels shown in the image are just on the point of emergence, with a long flowering season before fully opening fully.
This will flower from mid-summer through until the autumn, regardless of weather, but is best in a sunny position.
Ericas - especially the winter flowering Heathers - are all long flowering evergreens. They sometimes get forgotten for their evergreen characteristics - having such small leaves.
The Erica carnea types cover the full colour range from pure white through all shades of pink and into the deepest carmine red and have a long bud and flower period from late autumn through until mid spring - depending upon variety.
Erica x darleyensis is also winter flowering and not fussy about soil type.
Erica carnea Springwood White and Erica carnea Springwood Pink are both popular, ground hugging evergreens with flower colour through most of the winter.
Many of the Camellias will give several weeks of flower colour. The group I prefer, is Camellia sasanqua. A wide range of flower colours contrasting with the dark evergreen glossy foliage.
The other group of reliable long periods of flowering is the Camellia japonica cultivars. Again no shortage of flower colour - as long as you are happy with pure white, all shades of pink and deepest red!
The BIG plus is the fact that they flower in mid to late winter, and are best in a total shade environment, where they can be shielded from early sun rapidly thawing out the frosted buds - which then drop off.
Skimmia is a deservedly popular group of flowering/berrying shrubs. The Male forms are for flowers only, and generally more spectacular than the females. (Hide for cover!)
The image shows Skimmia Kew Green - which is happy to have both male and female flowers on the same plant, so also produces berries. But it is the long period of flowering, with the unusual greening flowers which are the main attraction.
I have photographed this in all months from early December until mid April.
Low growing, spreading, aromatic foliage, and winter flowering.
Easily makes it into the top 10 flowering evergreens and probably deserves to be further up the list. But then the list is not in any preference. Just when the memory allows!
Others that should have been included include.....